What do Gustavo Petro or Rodolfo Hernandez need to win? This is what the experts say

(CNN Spanish) – The second presidential round in Colombia is very close: the name of the country’s ruler for the next four years, for the period 2022-2026, will soon be known. But the panorama is not clear, and in fact it is difficult to get an idea of ​​the outcome of the elections given that most of the polls released in recent weeks have shown a technical tie between Gustavo Petro and Rodolfo Hernandez.

In the remaining hours, disagreements over a tight race like this could add or subtract votes from either candidate, according to analysts consulted by CNN.

“The strategy today is not to add. The strategy today is the number of votes lost,” Esteban Salazar, coordinator of democracy and governance at the Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation (Paris) in Bogota told CNN. According to him, it is the empty vote that may eventually lead to the withdrawal of votes from any of the candidates.

“On this occasion, polls show, in fact, that empty voting grows more than intent to vote for one candidate or another,” Salazar said.

An empty and undecided vote could indicate the lead of either candidate, because historically in Colombia, political analyst Santiago Silva told CNN, hesitations ranged from 2%, 4%, and even 5% of the vote. A candidate can be decided in the second round. However, Silva adds, the picture is not clear.

“Frankly, the recent poll results give us such a closed picture among the candidates that it is very difficult to say for sure where or who could benefit from increased participation or even reduced turnout,” Silva told CNN from Medellin.

Outlook ‘Uncertain’

Usually the last weeks before the elections are very busy. But with two candidates who represent a chain of shared values, but along different lines (both say they are anti-corruption champions, far from political machines and have personal politics) analysts say the outlook is uncertain.

“These polls fail to capture the implications of these two episodes on voting intent,” Paula Montella, director of the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Externado in Bogota, told CNN. “So we’re practically blind.”

One of the reasons, according to Montella, is that recent surveys were conducted at the beginning of June and did not measure the impact, for example, the publication of some edited videos showing Petro strategizing team members denounced as unethical to confront their opponents.

Local media published the videos and attributed them to unknown sources. CNN has not verified or sourced the videos. Petro said Which corresponds to nine months of recordings of his campaign with the intent of not winning and said that this leak corresponds to a crime. He pointed out that although these videos are real, there is nothing in them that constitutes a crime or an illegal act. Your campaign team I filed a complaint with the attorney general To denounce the leak in his presidential campaign. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the content of the videos after The network of citizen oversight offices will denounce Alleged violation of boundaries or handing over of resources to fund the presidential campaign.

Montella said recent surveys have also failed to measure the impact of Rodolfo Hernandez’s complaint that his life was allegedly in danger in Colombia and his determination not to return to Colombia for several days. (Hernandez returned to the country soon after, after the government said his safety was guaranteed.) In recent days, Hernandez has also been criticized for a video on TikTok in which he appears topless walking with two girls, and also for saying that in his campaign he received “Our Lady and all the prostitutes who live in the same neighborhood with her, I welcome everyone, but I do not change their words.”

Then Hernandez posted Apologies on social networks for “using words the wrong way”.

Hesitation and abstention, the two variables in the Colombian elections 5:40

Where can candidates grow in votes?

Analysts consulted by CNN agree that the empty vote has grown in recent weeks after the first round, although support among the candidates, who are now seeking the backing of wavers, has also waned.

Rodolfo Hernandez

“In practical terms, the election will be decided by abstention and the null vote of people who, in the case of Rodolfo Hernandez, have found, over the past two weeks, that he is not the candidate, in the opinion of the vote at least, which raises the stakes on CNN,” Salazar told CNN. Uribez, Proposal of the Right, Conservative.”

After being disqualified from the second round, Federico “Fico” Gutierrez said he supports Hernandez. After the first round, analysts consulted by CNN indicated that the majority of those five million votes for Gutiérrez (electors from political sectors associated with former President Alvaro Uribe and President Ivan Duque, most of whom are conservatives), would go to Hernandez. But Hernandez’s false starts will put those votes on edge.

In the past two weeks, as Pietro has done before, Hernandez has spoken out in favor of restoring diplomatic relations with Venezuela (something that Oribismo and conservative sectors reject), and has made controversial statements that they have welcomed “virgins and whores” into his campaign. and adopted a policy of drug legalization, saying that if the state supplied drug addicts (from marijuana to heroin to cocaine), the drug smuggling “trade” would end.

“This contrasts with practically every action that Oribismo, the Right and the Conservatives have done in Colombia,” Salazar said, adding that all those disappointed by Hernandez move to an opinion vote, which could lead to a blank vote or an abstention. .

According to Montella, Gutierrez’s votes include an anti-Labour sector that is more likely to align with Hernandez. But she says, even though Fico got high scores in castes 4, 5 and 6, it’s very difficult for these upper castes to align perfectly with Rodolfo Hernandez, and blank votes will be amplified.

Additionally, Salazar insists that the sounds of traditional political machines are not foolproof because there are no general agreements between Hernandez and Iran. “The machines are very afraid that Hernandez will not comply with them,” said analyst Barris.

For the second round, Rodolfo Hernandez received clear support from individual politicians from the Democratic Center (the ruling party), the Center for Hope coalition, Neoliberalism and Radical Change, as well as the collective support of the Green Oxygen Party and the Liberals.

What president do the citizens of Colombia want? 2:50

Gustavo Petro

Petro has strong opposition from the anti-PT and right-wing sectors of Colombia, but in recent weeks he has also received support from various sectors of the center-left and center, such as some politicians from the Green Alliance and Neo-Liberal Party.

Salazar asks, “How far can you grow?” In the “progressive centrist voices that finally connected to the campaign,” such as the case of Senator Ariel Avila and Angelica Lozano (Green Alliance), former congressional candidate Mabel Lara (neoliberal), and former centrist presidential candidate Alejandro Gaviria, for example.

And if we talk about electoral mathematics, then for Esteban Salazar, there is a possibility that of the 800,000 votes received by Sergio Fajardo, the centrist candidate who came in fourth, Petro will receive about 500,000 votes, which will reach a maximum of 9 million votes.

However, Silva says Petro could be surprised at the bottom line, if they have the behaviors that surveys have indicated in recent times.

“Four years ago, it was capped at 8 million votes. That cap was broken during the March consultations,” Silva said. “The second cap that has been set is between 44% and 45% (intention) of voters in the second round. Polls (for the second round) already offer 47-48 and even 50% (of voting intent).”

“So I think the idea of ​​the ceiling is so defined by people that they will never vote for it, but I think we can find surprises in terms of the end result in the face of what appears to be historic,” Silva confirmed.

This is what Colombians think a week before the presidential elections 3:20

The turn towards “institutionalization” and a “vote of shame”.

But there is a twist here that could strengthen Petro in this election, according to Montella. Four years ago, Petro meant a “leap into the void” of several sectors, as he faced candidates who were “framed within political moulds”, supported by large parties and who, as in Duque’s case, had short political careers.

On the other hand, with Rodolfo Hernandez, who is not completely intruder Politically because he was chancellor in the 1990s and mayor of Bucaramanga between 2016 and 2019, “it really represents a complete break with the traditional political parties,” says Montella.

“Now Pietro comes in to play that guy who was a senator, who drew up the 1991 constitution, who was mayor … he always went through institutional channels,” Montella says. Meanwhile, Hernandez presents “an uncertainty,” she said, due to his lack of experience with national issues, and because of voters’ lack of knowledge of him, for Petro to win votes from a sector in which he would see “institutional.”

But there is a risk that may not be reflected in recent polls: the embarrassing vote, says Salazar.

This “shameful” vote was the vote held in the public referendum for peace in 2016 (where the no-vote won) and in the first and second rounds of the 2018 elections with Duque, which, according to Salazar, may not be the case. Center in recent surveys that have been submitted.

“It’s an incorrect political vote,” he says. “It seems bad that you are saying that you will vote No in the referendum, or that you will vote for (Ivan) Duque, or, on this occasion, you will vote for Rodolfo Hernandez.”

“We will not express our vote publicly, but it does not necessarily mean that we will not vote,” notes Salazar, who could distort opinion polls that give a technical tie on June 19 in Colombia.

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